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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  November 11, 2014 9:30am-10:01am EST

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skeptical. from the rohingas to the situation in nigeria, you can get all of the information on you can see the lead story there. >> president obama is in china navigating a battles adding. onact. we're talking trade on "inside story." >> i'm lee shah fletcher. world powers are meeting at the asia pacific
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cooperation forum known as apec. a propose trade pack that would included other countries but not china. and wild the president is holding meetings, china is holding a different trade plan. how account united states work with china and the tpp simultaneously. it is the inside story. >> wil high level summit with members from apaec. obama discussed a new visa program. >> if the united states and china can work together the world benefits. that's something that this
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audience is acutely interested in. we will continue to strengthen our investment. >> china and the u.s. should be friends in good faith and good policy. >> the united states welcomes the rise of a prosperous, peaceful china. >> it comes at a time when under tone of suspicion quietly shake up the region. china and japan are at logge logging heads over the ownership of islands in the seas. china has been exerting it's own
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economic influence drawing eyes from across the region. just this weekend chinese president announced a fresh fund for its neighbors to use as capitol. >> china will spend $40 billion on the silk road fund. it will lead to infrastructure, exploitation of natural resources , industrial exploration. >> it will push the ftaap, it could be seen as a way for china to counter the impact of the trans-pacific partnership, or the tpp, which china is not part of. the tpp is a mammoth trade agreement wit with australia, canada,
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chile, japan, malaysia, mexico, new zealand, singapore, vietnam, and the u.s. president obama held a meeting in beijing with tpp negotiators the same day he met with apec heads. he said on monday once complete this at this point will bring nearly 40% of the global economy under an agreement. that means increased trade, greater investment, and more jobs for member countries. a level playing field on which it's businesses can compete. high spaniard that protect workers, the environment, and property. perks for big corporations that could allow them to trump public interest in environmental policies and questionable patent and copyright protections. japan is wary of signing on to new agriculture guidelines that lower barriers to u.s.
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imports. so the meetings in beijing are filled with intrigue and sub plots as the big powers make nice in public. but behind closed doors is a brass knuckle battle over regional influence for months to come. what are the obstacles, what are the benefits and what are the down sides. how can this massive trade deal impact the lives of americans? joining us today, josh contra-meltzer from the brookings institution. lori wollop, from trade watch, and eli radner. thank you for being here. >> josh, layout the tpp for us. what is it? what does it mean? >> so it's a free trade negotiation . 12 toront12 countries are part
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of it. it's aim to go liberalize trade and investment across the region in its goal is to be a 21st century agreement, so what it's seeking to do is negotiate new rules on everything from environment and labor, investment intellectual property and improving the access to ideas across the pacific region. the goal for the tpp for it to initially start out with the 12 members then to expand in a broader free trade agreement. there are a range of countries, and expectations are the more will join us as the agreement as this goes forward. china is not part of it, but they've made clear many times that china would be welcomed if they could meet the standards of the tpp. that would be a very positivestive development.
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>> just in some point a little later we're going to talk about china. what is different about tpp from other trade agreements. >> two big things are different. one, it's been extraordinarily secret. the last time the u.s. was engaged in one of these regional agreement, it was in latin america, the free trade of the americas, and it was much earlier than where the tpp is now. the u.s. published the entire draft text on the website, but we have not seen anything about this. it's been going on since 2008, and ostensibly they're near a deal. what is different about in agreement is most of this is not actually about trade. of the 29 chapters of tpp only five of them are about traditional trade matters, goods between countries, etc. the other chapters would set standards that each member
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country would have to comply laws to. if you fail to do so you would be subject to trade sanctions. the hitch is the u.s. has really pushed the agenda, and the u.s. has had 600 official corporate trade advisers. so in each instance where a consumer group would say we need affordable medicine, big pharmas have had preferential roles and that could jack up medicine prices in all these countries or the big hollywood firms who rules. it's a non-trade issue. >> in the next segment of the show i want to get into concerns about it, and those are certainly big ones that you touched on. does the u.s. need an asia-pacific trade agreement. >> it should be seen in the
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broader context of the u.s. pivot to asia, which has been a priority of the obama administration from the start. officials wanting to think past the wars in iraq and afghanistan, okay, the united states had a chance to step back and reasset strategic priorities in the world, where should it be investing it's time and resources. asia was going to be incredibly important in the 21st century, and the united states has largely been under invested in the first decade while we were off in iraq and afghanistan dealing with counter insurgency and alqaida. the president would deepen american engagement. we saw a lot of from the of that in the first part of the obama administration, but it has lagged. you've seen senior officials talk about this repeatedly over the last several years to
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emphasize this is a comprehensive relationship, comprehensive policy and ttp will be the biggest component of the economic piece of that, and there is a broad sense that economics is security, economics is politics in asia, and if the united states wants to lead and be part of asia in the 21st century, it has to be a big component of the policy. >> you look like you're chomping at the bit. >> well, economics is one thing, but the question is what are the rules, the laws that we're going to use with the tpp. there has been notions of it that it's either our rules or china's rules, and the tpp are our rules. and the tpp are the rules of the 600 corporate trade advisers. i don't disagree that we need to have a strategic focus on asia, but with what instruments and what policies are going to set our relationships with asia. policies that preference big
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companies relative to small businesses much less consumers or workers, that's not a winning strategy for our pivot or connection to asia. when you talk to, which i've done a lot of, as you also have, you talk to other countries where there is growing opposition to tpp as compared to this being a wonderful strong partnership, it's seen as, oh, do we have to take these damaging rules to be friends to the u.s. which counter our foreign policy interests. >> do you see it that way? >> of the tpp countries the u.s. has free trade agreements with half of them. in many respects a lot of rules and regulations that are going to be in the tpp these countries would be signed up to. in this respect the tpp is not really--even though it's billed as a 21st century agreement, and there will be rules which have
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not been seen before, for instance, data flows, which is clearly important for the united states, but it's a good rationale for countries to want to get behind them as a principle. it's going to whether on what we've already seen in the free trade agreements. you talk about how they have all new rules, and , but it's not going to be all that new. but it's going to bees wills an opportunity to try to address what's been a mix of bilateral agreements in the region, and try to bring it under one umbrella. >> we would take the australia rules much safer for consumers. >> we're going to talk about that. we'll take a quick break. when we come back we'll come to the specifics of the tpp and how it will impact you. critics argue the patent
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protections for big pharma would keep prices higher longer and give you less access to generics. stay with us. this is inside story. >> the government that came in won't allow the people to speak up... >> john stewart and maziar bahari >> the film is about democratization of information >> the fight for free journalism... >> these regimes are aresting more and more people... >> primetime news only on al jazeera america
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>> welcome back to "inside story." i'm lisa fletcher. we're talking about the u.s. relationship with asian nations, in specifically the trans-pacific partnership, a deal that would combine 27 trillion-dollar in gdp. the stakes are i and while president obama wants it to come together the negotiations are by no means over. we're debating it on this program. josh, a number of controversial components about the tpp. one of them is that this was negotiated in secrecy. why be so secretive about it? >> look, it's always a criticism in trade negotiations. it's good that people talk about it and push the boundaries .
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it's certainly important, there are important issues, and there are important public component to them which requires open discussion. and you put--i think there is an inherent tension in trade negotiations where components are deals waiting to be done. they provide the capacity for your negotiators to get a range of views about what the rules are going to mean, and allows for the impacts to be understood and better rules to be negotiated. >> public interests were banned. congress never saw a draft of this. who is benefiting from secret negotiations. >> there are 600 corporate advisers who have access. >> that congress does not have. >> up until last june the congress was not seeing texts
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that the 600 trade advisers were seeing. these guys have had really disproportionate influence. and here's the hitch, and here is the secrecy. if they were just sitting there doing tariff negotiations, cut border taxes, i'm less worried about the secrecy, and frankly to get it done you probably need to keep all the interested parties not breathing done your neck. but we're rewriting, they're diplomatically legislating wide swaths of our most domestic policies. they're going to affect our daily lives from the safety of the foot we feed our kids to whether we'll have another financial crisis that knocks granny out of her house. if medicines will be affordable and internet accessible, and promote local and energy policies. that is stuff that should not be behind closed doors.
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if we want to get back to the trade agreements knock yourself out with the secrecy. but if you're going to rewrite 12 countries' fundamental laws, that has to be done in public. >> is there a mechanism for public to have a voice when these roll backs are happening on environmental laws, food and drug and safety laws? >> it's important to understand that these conversations tend to be a little different if you're sitting here in the united states and in other countries. part of these--it's just a reality of the united states being a large country in negotiations and this is generally how the united states operates. the u.s. essentially exports its regulatory framework through its trade agreements and it's been the case on every trade agreement a to date. it's certainly the case that other countries are going to have to make changes if they're going to live up to the high standards and how each country
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manages it's communication engagement in the stakeholder, it's up to those countries to manage depending on their political system. we can have a view whether it's political or not, and how we feel it should be done. >> if it's such high standards, why is it in secret? that's escaping me. >> i can think of five places where the u.s. negotiators are using the secretive process to renegotiate existing u.s. law. >> give us examples. >> well, we passed the food safety act two years ago. it basically improved food safety standards basically with respect to imports. importers are liable to ensure that the food is safe. however tpp would require us to import food that doesn't meet standards if the country can say that their domestic system is equivalent, and explicitly on the chapter of food standards there is a provision that would require us to take seafood, shrimp, from countries like
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vietnam, malaysia that have pretty horrific safety records, and we're banning a lot of that stuff. food safety acts rolled back. we have obamacare, more of it is called medicine forularies. there is a section in there that would allow big companies to challenge the pharmaceutical forulary systems. that would be right after the fight in healthcare. >> eli, this sounds like its good for other countries. not necessarily good for the usa. what will we get out of these dale. >> we'll get a coherent
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standards. >> but will we have to lower our standards. >> i'm less cynic than lori. part of the reasons why this is kept secret is because it's so complex, and to get so many countries together with diverse political interests, calling on political leaders to make tough political decisions for the group as a whole, if it were publicized i think this is public practice, the sense wou would be that it's torn apart at the seems. i think this is relatively standard practice. for this deal to be concluded it will have to pass muster. i think we ought not to think that every one of these leaders will throw people under the bus. we had elections here. we had messy politics in america, and it's a good thing that elected officials are coming up two years in the house and every six years in the senate, and leaders will be held
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accountable for how they voted on this treaty. politicians on the hill and administration is keeping that in mind. >> when we return back we'll return to the united states-china relationship, and how the u.s. can work on side deals with china while ex >> today on "the stream". >> a surge in predatory lending targeting our nation's military with the interest rates as high 300 to 1000 percent. what's being done about it? >> "the stream". today 12:30 eastern. on al jazeera america.
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>> welcome back to "inside story." i'm lisa fletcher. in chinese president announced a $40 billion silk road fund to help its neighbors invest in infrastructure development. the united states seeks a trade deal with 11 countries that does not include china. we're discussing the trans-pacific partnership, and how that deal impacts the influence no asia. with us our guests. eli, the political implications are huge.
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china is not part of the deal. some have suggested that this was part of a larger containment strategy for china. wases it? >> clearly it's not. and i think that a lot of the commentary about the tpp has overplayed its hand in terms of is this all pertaining to excluding china? i think there is a long-term vision in washington and beijing that china would eventually join this agreement. they're not suited to right now given issues with intellectual property rights, etc. we see a number of different trade economic initiatives that are hopefully building towards a patchwork to produce a free trade area. china is going about its business, concluding a free trade agreement with south korea. close to an agreement with australia, and working with other trade initiatives. i think it's too much to see these as direct competition with each other.
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i think the hope is that they'll add up over time and eventually they'll be knitted together to reach the high standards that negotiators are hoping to reach. >> china is pushing it's own free trade agreement. is the timing of that intentional to distract from the tpp? >> they're working on some bilateral agreements. they put forward the notion at this particular apec meaning which is about harmonizing existing free trade agreements. it was talked about a year ago using its hosting of apec this year to launch a new free trade agreement to enter into negotiations, and what happened over the course of the last year is not just in the united states, but a number of apec countries saying we're not interested in starting new negotiations. let's work on the bilateral negotiations. and now what it's talking about
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is knitting together existing agreements, not launching into a new free trade agreement. >> josh , how central is tpp to the president? >> absolutely essential. it was when it was initially announced, it was a focus of military and diplomatic resources, and then later it came on as tpp and we need to think of it in those terms, and the way the administration describes it is setting the rules going forward, and u.s. commitment to that part of the world. i agree. i think china's eventual participation in tpp is going to be crucial over time. i think the question for china in part it's going to be important to realize we keep talking about one of the kind of games in terms of new experts in
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terms of imports and we know the countries and they create the types of rules and reforms. the reason why japan is part of tpp to use it to overcome entrenched domestic and to do the type of reforms that it knows it needs to do. and i think there is incentive for china to get on board when it's ready. >> the united states made tpp a more prominent part of its policy there was push back from china, oh, here we go again, the americans trying to contain china. but what we've seen is china expressing more interests, and using economic reform including
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some of its free trade forums as well al
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